Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00239-003-2497-3
Title: Isolation of a Neurotoxin (α-colubritoxin) from a Nonvenomous Colubrid: Evidence for Early Origin of Venom in Snakes
Authors: Fry, B.G. 
Lumsden, N.G.
Wüster, W.
Wickramaratna, J.C.
Hodgson, W.C.
Manjunatha Kini, R. 
Keywords: Evolution
Multi-gene
Neurotoxin
Snake
Three finger
Venom
Issue Date: Oct-2003
Source: Fry, B.G., Lumsden, N.G., Wüster, W., Wickramaratna, J.C., Hodgson, W.C., Manjunatha Kini, R. (2003-10). Isolation of a Neurotoxin (α-colubritoxin) from a Nonvenomous Colubrid: Evidence for Early Origin of Venom in Snakes. Journal of Molecular Evolution 57 (4) : 446-452. ScholarBank@NUS Repository. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00239-003-2497-3
Abstract: The evolution of venom in advanced snakes has been a focus of long-standing interest. Here we provide the first complete amino acid sequence of a colubrid toxin, which we have called α-colubritoxin, isolated from the Asian ratsnake Coelognathus radiatus (formerly known as Elaphe radiata), an archetypal nonvenomous snake as sold in pet stores. This potent postsynaptic neurotoxin displays readily reversible, competitive antagonism at the nicotinic receptor. The toxin is homologous with, and phylogenetically rooted within, the three-finger toxins, previously thought unique to elapids, suggesting that this toxin family was recruited into the chemical arsenal of advanced snakes early in their evolutionary history. LC-MS analysis of venoms from most other advanced snake lineages revealed the widespread presence of components of the same molecular weight class, suggesting the ubiquity of three-finger toxins across advanced snakes, with the exclusion of Viperidae. These results support the role of venom as a key evolutionary innovation in the early diversification of advanced snakes and provide evidence that forces a fundamental rethink of the very concept of nonvenomous snake.
Source Title: Journal of Molecular Evolution
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/100987
ISSN: 00222844
DOI: 10.1007/s00239-003-2497-3
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